Establishing a Workplace Culture of DE&I with Dr. Shawn Andrews

July 17, 2024
A highlight of the J Turner Research Summit in December 2023 was a presentation by Dr. Shawn Andrews which centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. In this episode, Chelsea Kneeland sits down with Dr. Andrews to reflect on the insights she shared at the Summit and discuss steps that multifamily leaders can take to enhance their company’s culture. Listen in to gather inspiration and key takeaways for attracting and bolstering talent to make your communities more diverse, inclusive, and strong.
 Establishing a Workplace Culture of DE&I with Dr. Shawn Andrews
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“Data shows that 80% of potential employees look for companies that have DEI in their messaging… If they don’t see that, they move on to another company.”

This episode kicks off with Dr. Andrews highlighting her background in the research of gender barriers and racial biases, and she emphasizes the need for deeper understanding of these topics in our culture today. The good news, she says, is that most companies desire to be more diverse, but they don’t always know where to start. Her advice to multifamily leaders who want to begin establishing a workplace culture that is more diverse, equitable, and inclusive is to start a dialogue with team members about where they feel the company is at and what they are seeking from a DEI standpoint; then talk about that feedback with the leadership team to implement changes.

Chelsea next asks Dr. Andrews to elaborate on the positive impacts of companies adopting a more diverse culture, and she notes that, besides being the right choice, there are added benefits like improved engagement, innovation, and creativity. Not only that, but teams who feel a greater sense of belonging are also likely to see their ROI, bottom line, and overall revenue improve. She emphasizes that a company is not going to become diverse and inclusive overnight, but having a process helps move the needle, and your culture will start to become and feel more diverse.

In terms of resources for leaders seeking to take steps to enhance their company’s culture, there are many books and TED Talks on DEI, including one by Dr. Andrews titled “Debunking Bias: perceptions of male and female leaders.” She notes that through her study, DEI was found to be one of Gen Z’s top 5 values in their job search, so these efforts should be a priority for attracting top, diverse talent. And even though DEI efforts can be thwarted due to budget cuts or the ripple effects of legislation, the data shows now is not the time to back away from DEI; now is the time to reassess where you are as a company and recommit to your efforts.

Are you ready to build a better comunity with happier residents?